Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man cancer drug fund 'not priority'

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Media captionMaurice Nelson said his family was paying more than £2,000 a month for cancer drugs

Establishing a Cancer Drug Fund (CDF) in the Isle of Man is not considered to be a government priority, according to the Manx health minister.

The CDF was set up in England in 2011, to help patients access certain drugs before they have NHS approval.

In the House of Keys, Minister Howard Quayle said a Manx CDF would cost in the region of £350,000 a year.

Cancer patient Maurice Nelson, 73 said he felt "bitter" about not receiving any help to meet the cost of his drugs.

Mr Nelson, 73, from Kirk Michael, was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2013.

He began chemotherapy treatment on the NHS until his family offered to pay for private treatment.

He was then given access to a drug called Avastin, also known as bevacizumab, which works by starving cancer cells of a blood supply.

'Miracle' drug

"This drug isn't going to cure me but it is keeping me alive," said Mr Nelson.

"Last November I was a dying man but here I am. For me this medicine has been like a miracle".

"If I lived in England it would be free but because I live on the Isle of Man it costs thousands- I couldn't afford it if it wasn't for family help".

"I feel bitter when I think I've paid into the island's health service for 40 years but when I need help, I'm told there is no money."

Mr Nelson's family pays his monthly £2,216 medical bill.

"On this drug, my tumours have shrunk and I am feeling good, my consultant just can't believe it."

The Manx government said the health department had approved funding for CDF approved drugs in the past, but only in "two exceptional clinical cases".

Mr Quayle said other areas, including mental health and elderly community services, were the priorities.

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